If you hear the word "Seattle" what comes to mind. Microsoft and Starbucks of course, and probably Nirvana and the Space Needle too. And rain, lots of rain.

It is true that it rains a little more in Seattle, but there are good days, and rain or shine Seattle is a great place to live or visit.

If you love being outdoors, Seattle has an awful lot to offer you. You can sail or kayak around the inlets of Puget Sound, or hike the Cascade Mountain Forests, even go fishing for wild salmon.

If you are culinary expert or just fancy yourself as one, Seattle is great for you too. The self proclaimed coffee capital of the world has a lot more to offer than just a great cup of java. There is delicious fresh local seafood and the famous Pike Place Market. For those who are interested in the industry of Seattle, a visit to the Boeing Everett factory or the Microsoft Visitor Center should be on the itinerary.

For an architecture buff, there is the Experience Music Project, which resembles one of Jimi Hendrix's smashed guitars, and the angular 11 story Seattle Central Library, which lives up to reputation its designer Rem Koolhaas has a master of the avant-garde.

Then of course it would be criminal to ignore the cultural aspects of Seattle. The home of Jimi Hendrix, Kenny G, just two talented Seattle natives, the city embraces a wide range of modern music from Heart to the Kingsmen and Nirvana to Death Cab for Cutie. This is all documented by the exhibits at the aforementioned Experience Music Project Museum.

Theater is also alive and well in Seattle, especially at the Seattle Center. The Seattle Art Museum and the Asian Art Museum both have world renowned collections.

Downtown Seattle lays nestled on the shore of Elliot Bay, spreading down the slopes of the rising hills of the Interstate 5. North of the downtown area is the Seattle Center, site of the 1962 World's Fair which is topped off by the impressive Space Needle. The cities baseball and football stadiums lie to the south.

On the far side of the ship canal you will find the University of Washington campus and the very bohemian neighborhoods of Fremont and Ballard. Seattle's south side is very industrial and has far fewer visitor attractions than the north.

Seattle is a city on the waterfront, but it is the rare local who will take a formal harbor tour. If you decide to do the same, instead of the official tour take a ferry to Bainbridge Island. This is a village known for its Victorian architecture and abundance of fascinating little art galleries and shops. There are a lot of densely wooded areas and very lush greenery attracts many people to partake in kayaking, golfing, fishing and hiking.

Seattle is not known as a beach city, the waters are cold year round and there is really no surf, but the two mile long Alki Beach is a popular destination for joggers, bicyclists and skateboarders.